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Murders Must Be Executed

Even the Christmas story includes a mass murder of babies by King Herod. One wonders how many who hear that story wish that Herod should have gone unexecuted?

Thoughtful person who observe the slaughter going on in Mexico may well ask themselves whether this has anything to do with Mexico having no death penalty and the citizens having no right to own and bear firearms. When criminals can execute people, but the govt cannot; one may ask, who really is the government?

As to capital punishment, this is a duty that the Lord gave man after the Flood, a duty never repealed -- still recognized in Romans 13. The Law of Moses gives us some idea about how to execute the responsibility; e.g., by demanding a high degree of proof (2 or 3 witnesses). Prison was never used in the Law of Moses for punishment -- closest thing to it is the city of refuge for the manslayer.

Scripture: Gen 9 (part of Noah Covenant):
And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require. At the hand of every beast will I require it. And at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. For in the image of God He made man.

For in the image of God He made man:

In view of the emphasis of rulership in the expression "image of God" (cf. 1 Cor. 11 where man is related to woman), it is best to take the "image of God" in the passage to refer to the God-like authority of the executioner in carrying out this divine prerogative of taking human life -- not that the murderer has committed a crime vs the image of God in his victim, but that the judges are "gods" in executing the murderer. (As is well known, judges in scripture are at times called gods.) This duty is not presented as an option. However, as we see with David and Saul/Paul, exceptions can be made when a person trusts the Lord as Savior and repents.

Deuteronomy 19 underscores this duty:

that innocent blood be not shed in the midst of thy land, which Jehovah thy God gives you for an inheritance, and so blood be upon you. 11 But if any man hate his neighbo, and lie in wait for him and rise up against him and smite him mortally so that he dies, and he flee into one of these cities; 12 then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.

Deut 21, likewise, has a procedure when a murder victim is found & the murderer cannot be determined:

And all the elders of that city, who are nearest unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8 Forgive, O Jehovah, Your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, and do not allow innocent blood to remain in the midst of Your people Israel. And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9 So shall You put away the innocent blood from the midst of you, when you shall do that which is right in the eyes of Jehovah.

Numbers 35

So you shall not pollute the land wherein you are: for blood, it pollutes the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.

Romans 13

For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And would you have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise from the same: 4 for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that does evil. 5 Wherefore you must needs be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.

This passage is similar to the "image of God" theme in Gen 9; here instead of "image of God," it says "minister of God.

Practical Considerations:

In addition to the injustice of citizens being punished by being forced to house murderers, failing to execute them is bad for the murderers, depriving them of the incentive to repent. On the contrary, they may be encouraged to lie & claim they are innocent in hopes of getting out of prison.

Executing the murderer protects people from being murdered by that murderer. He cannot repeat his crime once dead.

Executing the murderer protects the citizens from enduring punishment by God on their nation for ignoring His will in this matter. Executing the land ameliorates the pollution of the land.

If criminals can execute people, but the government cannot, then the criminals have become the new government -- a higher authority, more to be feared that the judicial system.

It is an outrage that the taxpayers should be punished by having to provide food, housing, clothing, & medical care free for life to a murderer. Neither are prisons therapeutic. The knowledge that one is going to be speedily executed, however, is a good motivation to get right with God -- and it is not as if the murderer would live forever on earth if he were not executed.